What To Pack?

BARCELONA – It’s no small task deciding what to take along in your backpack on the Camino. Great attention must be paid to everything, its utility, its necessity, and especially its weight.

The most popular guidebook even recommends that you cut out its own introductory pages to lessen its weight.

The general guideline is that your pack should weigh no more than 10% of your body weight. So no U.S. Army-style 75-lb. packs here.

This is my Gregory Zulu 40-litre pack which, when loaded, weighed in at 23 lbs. – my perfect 10%. With two liters of water in its hydration bladder, I’ll be over weight by two pounds. Que sera, sera. Those who walk the Camino are “pilgrims’, or peregrinos in Spanish, and apparently a favorite peregrino pastime is jettisoning stuff they packed, don’t need, and don’t want to carry any further. We’ll see if I leave a trail of castoffs as I go along.

Here’s what’s in my pack:

  • Hat, Keen H2 sandals, selfie stick/tripod
  • Fleece shirt, down jacket, rain jacket, hardware bag (iPhone charger, Anker battery, carabiners, etc.)
  • Clothes bag #1: convertible hiking pants, SPF50 quick-dry shirt
  • Clothes bag #2: underwear, SPF 50 tee shirt, hiking sox
  • Water bag: contains filter and accessories for the hydration bladder
  • Toiletry bag: Lush shampoo bar, razor, other usual stuff
  • Laundry bag: detergent, clothesline, clothes pins
  • Travel tote bag, for clothes while showering, shopping, etc.
  • Microfibre camp towel
  • (Not shown): Ultralight sleeping bag in compressor sack, rain pants in stuff bag, pack rain cover

It’s really not much stuff. I’ll be wearing a shirt, hiking pants, u-trou, socks, and Keen hiking boots. Laundry needs to be done every day.

Keep in mind that I’m 6′ 2″ x 230 lbs, wearing a size 14 shoe. I read a lot of travel packing guides that were obviously written by/for smaller people. I can assure you that XXL clothing and size 14 shoes take up a lot of space when packing.

In addition, I have my iPhone, sun glasses, a buff, croakie, paddling gloves (for use with trekking poles), Maglite mini, and stuff like chapstick, suntan lotion, etc. I decided against bringing my iPad (too heavy and something else valuable to worry about losing/being stolen).

I also have two trekking poles, which are terrifically helpful when the trail goes up and down.

I have to send out a big Thanks to the staff at REI in Tysons Corners, Virginia, whose experience and wonderful advice were instrumental in getting all this gear sorted and understood. Thanks Tanner, Karen, and everyone else.

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